Salon Privé is billed as ‘the UK’s most exclusive automotive garden party, as well as one of the most glamorous social occasions on the calendar’. Set in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, this is a distinctly well-dressed car show. So grab a glass of champers and wipe the lobster thermidor from your chin as we take you through what you can expect.
‘See it, test it, drive it’
The big news for 2016 is the introduction of an all-new ‘see it, test it, drive it’ programme. It allows guests to get behind the wheel of some of the world’s most luxurious and prestigious cars, including Abarth, Bentley, BMW, Lamborghini, Lexus, Morgan, Overfinch and Tesla.
Test drives and passenger rides
Alongside the Lamborghini Huracan, Tesla Model S, BMW i8 and Abarth 124 Spider will be the new Bentley Bentayga. In standard ‘if your name’s not down…’ style, test drives are open to those who have bought a hospitality ticket, something that will cost in the region of £300. Bentley will be hoping to add ‘buy it’ to ‘see it, test it, drive it’.
Best concours show field ever?
Of course, the main focus of Salon Privé is the Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elegance, with the event organisers claiming it could be ‘its best concours show field ever’. A standout entry is a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica LWB Coupe Aerodinamico. This car was shown on the Pininfarina stand at the 1962 Turin Auto Show.
Ferrari 400 Superamerica LWB Coupe Aerodinamico
Later in 1962 it was sold to American racing driver Erwin Goldschmidt, who added a leather bolster between the front seats for his children, along with a grab handle for his wife. Other Ferraris on show at Salon Privé include a 250 Europa Short Chassis Prototype, 250 GT Series II Pininfarina Cabriolet, 275 GTB/4 and a 365 GTB/4.
Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta
This 1954 Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta is the third of just four cars built and the only one remaining in authentic, original condition. This very car was exhibited at the 1954 Paris Motor Show and competed in the Mille Miglia in 1955. To add to its provenance, it was awarded Best of Show at the 2016 Concorso d’Eleganza, Villa D’Este.
Elvis Presley famously owned a BMW 507 while on military service in Germany and that very car – fresh from restoration – was on display at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Meanwhile, at Salon Privé, BMW UK will be displaying a 507 of its own, which was also treated to a full restoration.
The Concours d’Elegance is split into a number of classes, including ‘European Grand Tourers’, ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘80s Dream Machines’ and ‘The Great V12 Ferraris’. Eighteen of the world’s foremost automotive professionals will be judging the entries, headed by chief judge and five-time Le Mans winner, Derek Bell.
50 Years of the Lamborghini Miura
Salon Privé will also celebrate 50 years of the Lamborghini Miura with a special class in the Concours d’Elegance. On display will be the original Miura SV shown at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, along with two other Miuras. The event organisers will be advising drivers to avoid tunnels, whilst giving bulldozers a wide berth.
Lamborghini Centenario Coupe
The Lamborghini Centenario Coupe will make its UK public debut at Salon Privé. Built to mark what would have been Ferruccio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday, only 20 examples will be built, along with 20 roadster versions. The Centenario features the most powerful V12 engine in the firm’s history and can sprint to 62mph in just 2.8 seconds.
Another car making its UK public debut is the new Bristol Bullet. The V8-engined roadster marks 70 years since the birth of Bristol Cars in 1947 and only 70 will be made. The 375hp Bullet weighs just 1,250kg and has a top speed of 155mph. Expect to part with around £250,000 if you fancy getting your hands on a Bristol.
Morgan 1909 Edition EV3
The Morgan 1909 Edition EV3 will make its global debut at Salon Prive. Just 19 of these bespoke electric three-wheelers will be available, each one fitted with a bespoke driving kit from Alexander McQueen, Dents and Belstaff. Launched in conjunction with Selfridges, the name signifies the birth years of both brands.
Pirelli Prestige and Performance Competition
The Pirelli Prestige and Performance Competition features 80 different models from 25 automotive brands. Acting as a centrepiece to the Supercar Show on Saturday 3rd September, the event is a modern-day twist on a Concours d’Elegance, with a range of different classes. These include ‘The Best of Group B Rallying’, ‘To the Track and Back’ and ‘How Fast is Fast Enough?’.
Tribute to the Lamborghini Diablo
Ten of Sant’Agata’s finest vehicles will line up in the Tribute to the Lamborghini Diablo, including a 6.0 VT Final Edition, limited edition SE30 and the chassis number 001 SVR.
The Best of Group B Rallying
Lining up in ‘The Best of Group B Rallying’ class will be two Lancia 037s, two Ferrari 308 GTBs, an Audi Sport Quattro and an MG Metro 6R4. Meanwhile, in the ‘Rival Supercars from the 80 and 90s’ class, you can expect to find the likes of the McLaren F1, Jaguar XJ220, Lamborghini Countach and Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Combined ticket available
Judges include Quentin Willson, automotive designer Matthew Humphries, journalist Steve Cropley and Pirelli’s Matteo Barbieri. Visitors wishing to take in the Pirelli Prestige and Performance Competition and the full range of supercars, hypercars and classic cars within Salon Privé can buy a special combined ticket for £114. This allows guests access to Salon Prive from 14.30 onwards.
Koenigsegg Agera RS
A rather special Koenigsegg Agera RS will make an appearance at Salon Prive. Not only is it the first European car, it also features a host of modifications, including a carbonfibre tub chassis painted in the same finish as the exterior. You’ll also find blue Alcantara and gold highlights in the cabin. Alongside the Agera RS (pictured here at the Geneva Motor Show), you can expect to see the last ever Agera R and a One:1.
Citroen D Super 5
Not to be confused with a Citroen DS, the D Super was actually a rebadged version of the lower-spec ID and was introduced in 1970. This 1973 Super 5 is one of the star lots at the Silverstone Auctions Salon Privé Sale and is expected to fetch between £75,000 and £90,000.
If that’s not enough, Tesla will showcase its Model X in P100D guise, while JLR will be exhibiting SVR versions of the Range Rover Sport and Jaguar F-Type. But in truth, the main attraction is the Concours d’Elegance, where you’ll find anything from a Ferrari F40 to a BSA Gold Star, or a Bentley Streamliner to a Porsche 911 2.7 RS Touring.
Tickets still available…
At the time of writing, tickets are still available online. Thursday is the Concours d’Elegance judging day, Friday is Ladies’ Day, while Saturday is Supercar Show Day. Guests are advised to ‘dress smartly’, with ladies asked to wear a hat, headpiece or fascinator ‘if you want to be considered for a prize’ on Ladies’ Day. Remember, the event kicks off on 1st September 2016.